On Dance, Theatre, Performance in a More-than-Human World

Geumhyung Jeong, Record Stop Play, 2011, still from the stop motion animation

Seminar 10 Nov 13:00 – 17:15 at Färgfabriken

There is a codependency, but in the end, machines do not need us, we need them.

Geumhyung Jeong

I wish to explore that which don’t revolve around the human, but rather focus on the other living world. In this case the realm of the forest. Is it possible to interact with it and not having the human in the center?

– Zheng Bo


The theater has since the Renaissance favored an anthropomorphic logic of the stage, where the human subject has been superior on account of the distant object. However new forms of dance, theatre, and performance, informed by post-human thought, put this dichotomy into question, as these forms show that they are not dependent on only human actors, rather that objects are and have always been great performers, producing sensuous affect beyond the visual presentation. These theatrical and choreographic strategies use different performative modes and manipulation to unsecure the subject–object relation, as they explore and mobilize the agency of the objects, which shed light on their active nature in the world, in ways that reevaluate the status of the human, her position and interactions within a greater ecology. And they do so with a certain urgency, that on the one hand can be traced to the destruction of the environment, where it’s evident that humans need to activate their sensibility to this condition, and on the other hand non-human actors has become omnipresent in the accelerated technological growth, or in other words; non-human matter is an active factor that humans cannot foresee nor control.

What are the artistic strategies that argue for a less anthropocentric driven practice? How do they operate? How is the interaction shaped with non-human actors, are they equal? What consequences does it have on how we understand and produce dance, theatre, performance? How does it alter our understanding of the body, movement, and language? How does it revise temporal and spatial dimensions? How are these strategies ingrained and aligned with ecological and technological challenges of today?

The seminar is devised by DACE – Dance Art Critical Ecology/Rickard Borgström and Rebecca Chentinell in collaboration with Uniarts Dance Department. It is presented in conjunction with the dance exhibition Symbiosis – Erotics with projects by Zheng Bo and Geumhyung Jeong, curated by DACE at Färgfabriken, as a satellite to the project Symbiosis.

As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an intervention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end.

Michel Foucault’s, Les Mots et les choses

Seminar Schedule 13:00 – 16:00

13:00 – 13:10 Welcome

Karin Englund, Curator Färgfabriken and Jennifer Lacey, Head of program MA in Choreography Uniarts

13:10 – 13:20 On Dance, Theatre, Performance in a More-than-Human World

Rickard Borgström & Rebecca Chentinell / DACE

13:20 – 14:00 Atmosphere and Intra-action – Feeling entangled agencies in theatre spaces

Dr. Sarah Lucie, Dramaturge/Editor

14:00 – 14:40

Sky every day – Writing through interspecies relation beyond the Anthropocene extinction

Pipsa Lonka, Playwright/Dramaturge

14:40 – 14:55 Break

14:55 – 15:05 Screening: Record Stop Play

Geumhyung Jeong, Artist/Choreographer

15:05 – 15:45 Love, Labor, Loop: Geumhyung Jeong’s Choreographies of the General Intellect

Eylül Fidan Akıncı, Ph.D. candidate, Dramaturge/Performer

15:45 – 16:00 Closing remarks

 Jennifer Lacey, Sarah Lucie, Pipsa Lonka


16:00- 16:15 Break

16:15- 16:30 Screening: An Ecosexual Dance in Högsveden

 Zheng Bo, Artist

16:30- 17:15 End discussion

Seminar participants and Rickard Borgström & Rebecca Chentinell / DACE

Symbiosis – Erotics is in partnership with Färgfabriken, Stockholm University of the Arts – Department of Dance, Royal Institute of Art – Performance in the expanded field and is supported by Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, Swedish Arts Council, Taiteen edistämiskeskus, IASPIS / Swedish Arts Grants Committee – International Dance Program, Nordic Culture Fund, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Nordic Culture Point.

For more information about the exhibition Symbiosis – Erotics visit www.fargfabriken.se and to know more about DACE – Dance Art Critical Ecology  visit www.dace.nu

About the speakers:

Eylül Fidan Akıncı is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center- City University of New York (CUNY). She works independently as a dramaturg and performer across choreography, theatre, and visual arts between the U.S., Europe, and Turkey.

Akıncı’s doctoral research focuses on objects and nature in contemporary choreography through a feminist lens, and creates a trajectory across Pina Bausch, Eiko Otake, La Ribot, Mette Ingvartsen, Gisèle Vienne, and Geumhyung Jeong. Her writing on dance and performance has appeared in academic and popular publications such as TDR: The Drama Review and Etcetera Mag, and is forthcoming in Performance Research 26:8 (2022). She also published on public protests in Turkey, “Sacred Children, Accursed Mothers: Performativities of Necropolitics and Mourning in Neoliberal Turkey” in Performance in a Militarized Culture (eds. Sara Brady and Lindsey Mantoan, Routledge, 2017).

As an educator, Akıncı has been teaching at Hunter College and Baruch College of CUNY, giving workshops on dramaturgy and dance history, and currently co-curates Biennial Dance Education 2022 Stuttgart entitled “Coming Together: Solidarity, encounter, sustainability.”

Jennifer Lacey is a US-American dance artist based in Paris and Stockholm. Her constant project is a renegotiation of production methods, generating pieces that are always based in dancing but don’t always look like dance. She creates works that propose an inventive and playful hermeneutics of bodies and their environments. Often co-signing and collaborating, the products of her activity unbind dance from the spectacular whilst still investing in the multiple ways that the performative can manifest, effect and communicate. Her works have been produced and staged internationally in theatres, museums, galleries, workshops and publications. She is a recipient of a Doris Duke Impact Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Currently she is the head of the MA program of Choreography at Uniarts Stockholm.

Pipsa Lonka is a playwright and dramaturg who received her M.A. from the Helsinki Theatre Academy in 2007. Her repertoire of works is not bound to a single type of viewer but instead range from children to adults.

The foundation of her plays are strong emotions and their central questions often ponder both the physical and mental relationships between people, art, and the surrounding world (especially nature). Her plays are often combined with observations on how our surrounding space may impact our existence and the ways in which these experiences may be verbalized through language. According to Lonka: “I’m largely fascinated by the position of the human species in relation to other life and what sort of narrative the play is pushing forward with this narrative. It is possibly an analytical question: what does the human have the right to?”  

She has worked in collaboration with theatres like Helsinki City Theatre, the Finnish National Theatre, and Q-Theatre. Lonka has won multiple awards both domestically and abroad, her most recent award being the 2018 Lea Award for best dramatic text of the year granted by the Finnish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild. This award was granted for her play Second Nature (Toinen Luonto). The play addresses the assumption that the human species is at the centre of the world and is therefore more valuable than other living species by default. Her most recent play Sky every day (Neljän päivän läheisyys) premiered in Viirus Theatre in February, 2021. It is a posthumanist play about gulls and people. The play has been translated in Swedish, English, and will shortly be available in Russian and Danish.

Sarah Lucie earned her Ph.D. in Theater and Performance from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research approaches contemporary performance and digital art through new materialism, ecocritical theory, and posthumanism. Sarah has contributed articles to Performance Research, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, PAJ, and Etcetera, as well as The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics (2019) and Machine Made Silence: The Art of Kris Verdonck (2020). Sarah is also media editor of Performance Studies: An Introduction, 4th Edition, as well as Assistant Editor of TDR: The Drama Review. She currently teaches in the theatre and dance departments at Marymount Manhattan College and Drew University. She also works as a dramaturg, and serves as General Manager for East Coast Artists.

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